I have been spending a lot of time with toddlers recently. Almost 95 percent of our Indian friend circle in the Bay Area have kids in the age range of 0-24 months and I, inadvertently, end up being the “entertainer” for their little ones. I choose that role because it allows me to experience unabridged, uncomplicated, uninhibited joy. Their curious eyes, their playfulness, and their squeaks of glee remind me of what I have lost in my journey to becoming an adult.
They are right at the precipice of learning language — the kind that we adults can understand — but despite their evident verbal “handicap” they’re pretty good communicators. They go around in circles when happy, cry in pain/to seek attention/when they can’t get their way, squeal in surprise, and say long sentences in gibberish when they’re trying to make a point. They live in the moment.
It’s almost like attending a free seminar when I’m with these kids. They know how to live life king size. And they offer their “wisdom” to anyone willing to partake. I find our friends too overwhelmed by day-to-day challenges of feeding, cleaning, and keeping up to appreciate the wealth of insights to be had from these high-energy laughter-balls. And I don’t blame them. Parenting is no easy task. It’s difficult to gaze in wonderment when you’re cleaning poop.
As an outsider, though, who gets an inside peek into their kids’ Barney-enriched utopian worlds, I am grateful. They continually teach me to be free; to have an open mind where anything is possible; to question; to get amazed at the simplest things; and most importantly, to be me. They help peel away the layers of sophistication, knowledge, and suave and revel in the rawness of the human spirit. To experience happiness in its purest form. To feel satiated within.
I’ll feel a tinge of sadness as, in time, we’ll welcome these children into the adult world, but for now I shall make the most of their wonder years and enjoy my return to the age of innocence.